It was time to bid farewell to this beautiful place. Unfortunately, we had a flat tire right in the morning. We used the spare and visited the local mechanic shop. If you're driving yourself, make sure you carry a tool kit with hydraulic tools and air pressure pumps. On a journey like this, you're as good as your ride.
We left to cover the beautiful stretch towards Sangla, Rakcham and Chitkul. We decided to go directly to Chitkul and cover the rest on our way back.
The drive to Chitkul from Reckong Peo via Sangla is quite treacherous but enthralling. You're accompanied by the sound of a river rushing by along apple orchards. It's laden with beautiful waterfalls, rocky mountains and visions of snowclad peaks as far as the eye can see.
Chitkul, as a lot of people know, is the last village on the Indo-Tibetan border. It's known for the last dhaba of the country, the last hotel and what not.
It is indeed a beautiful place that gets quite cold at night. If you're not too fond of the biting cold, you should come well prepared with blankets and warm clothes.
The little village is quite charming. It starts with a cluster of hotels, homestays and tiny chai shops and gives way to a road leading to the Indo-Tibetan border.
You can go ahead up till 3 km, where there is an ITBP check post and can wonder what lies ahead. From what I was told, the physical border lies 30 km ahead of the check post and the area is totally under army control.
We squatted by the river for some time, where we saw animal skeletons (spooky?). Snow Leopard sightings aren't really uncommon in Chitkul in the winters.
We took a triple sharing room for INR 500. Pretty basic but dirt cheap.
There are better and costlier options available like the Zostel and Wanderer's Nest.
What to do:
- Just relax and soak in the views.
- Go for a stroll by the rivers.
- Camp by the river.
- Enjoy the home cooked meals warm meals by the locals
What not to do:
I'm a huge fan of far off places that are this beautiful and are accessible by road. However, I wish they weren't. Chitkul is getting more crowded every year, which is good for business for the locals but the rise in rowdy, irresponsible and loud tourists has never helped anyone.
- Be polite and friendly with the locals. They're very sweet and will go to any extent to help you out.
- Respect their culture and their homes.
- Do not litter.
- Do not play loud music and throw around alcohol bottles.
- Park your cars safely and responsibly.
- Only get your cars if you're confident about your driving. Otherwise, the HRTC buses run multiple times a day from Peo to Chitkul.